Every now and then comes a time when we all get bored of the content Netflix has to offer. One more reason to love the holiday season is that there surely will be new content available. So grab a big mug of hot chocolate, put on some candles or twinkle lights and wrap yourself in a blanket, because the time of holiday movies is here.
Christmas movies are perhaps my favourite movie genre. True, the plots aren’t always too complex, but what usually lacks in writing (and sometimes even quality), makes up for in spirit. It’s been a delight that some of the original movies on Netflix are really quite well done and enjoyable.
What really amazes me is that even with all the Santa stories out there, somebody still manages to think of another new approach to the Santa Claus Origin Story. This particular one recounts how the tradition of writing a letter to Santa came to be. The hero of the story however, is someone quite different to the jolly man in red.
Jesper has been born a silver spoon in his mouth, and is quite used to a pampered lifestyle where he has everything and people attend to his every want and need. His father hoped Jesper would learn some humility, and used his position to get him into the Royal Postal Academy. However, Jesper prides himself in being the academy’s worst student, and as a lesson, is given a post on the island of Smeerensburg. He is given the task of mailing 6,000 letters in a year, or else risk being cut off.
Smeerensburg is a sordid little town in the middle of nowhere. The inhabitants consist of two clans whose relationship through history is naught but war, battle and resentment towards one another. Children don’t go to school, for any contact with the enemy is prohibited. The townspeople are as grey, cold, angry, shabby and bitter as their town. The once enthusiastic teacher Ms Alva has resolved into selling fish in order to make some money and starting anew somewhere far away. The postal office has seen its better days, and is inhabited by chickens. Any postman daring to set their foot on the island is laughed at and ridiculed. Amidst the feuding locals, sending mail is completely out of the question.
Through unexpected events Jesper befriends a grumpy woodsman named Klaus, who (with Jesper’s reluctant help) starts to secretly gift the toys he’s made to children in exchange for their letters. And thus the story starts to unfold, as Jasper in striving to reach his goal and getting off the island manipulates the townspeople into sending letters, not noticing at first how things around him start slowly changing – for the better. We get a glimpse of many aspects of the Santa Claus lore, such as The Naughty List, reindeer, red coat and much more. The cherry on top is the often quoted slogan of the movie.
“A true selfless act always sparks another”
In addition to the unique story, what really impressed me was the animation, which I found beautiful, slightly quirky and full of personality. It can be seen that the film was worked on by some talented, artistic people. And it shouldn’t be a surprise. The film’s director Sergio Pablos has previously worked on some great Disney animated features in the 90’s. The voice talent are not to be forgotten either, the group of voice actors giving life to the characters include Jason Schwartzman, J. K. Simmons and Joan Cuzack (whose voice I recognized within moments of her character’s appearance in the story).
All in all, I truly, truly enjoyed this film. I could imagine watching this with a kid, who would be running to find pen and paper midway through the film, just to compose their own letter to Santa. A sign of a good Christmas movie is also that they make me shed some tears and this is no exception. I wouldn’t be surprised if it became one of my favorites.
Have you watched Klaus yet? What did you think? What is your favourite Santa Claus movie? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts. This was also my first review for the blog, so let me know what you think of this type of content, and if it’s something you’d like to see more. Thanks for reading and happy adventures!